Jacob Two Two
In June 20, 2002 I shared a stage with the likes of Richard Dreyfuss for a tribute to the late Mordecai Richer in Montreal.
I’d been invited to recite a passage from his much loved children’s book Jacob Two Two Meets The Hooded Fang - as the Hooded Fang himself! When I arrived backstage that day I got a strong sense that everybody looked at me as the one guy who was going to trip up in what was a one- take, live- to- tape performance.
Despite my microphone breaking just before I walked through the curtain wearing a mask to hide my face I went on to deliver what I thought would probably be my best and only performance of that kind.
I enjoyed playing this bit part as The Hooded Fang because as a kid growing up I always wanted to be a masked wrestler! Some of my favorites were The Zebra Kid, Mil Mascaras and The Destroyer, to name a few.
As strange as it may sound even though my wrestling career was over I was happy to at last have the chance to walk out and face a crowd under a mask.So I figured that I’d be The Hooded Fang for five minutes and in the long and short of it, it wouldn’t stand out as any kind of a memorable performance to anyone but me.
I returned home triumphant that I hadn’t fallen into the orchestra pit! I felt like I was on top of the world because Richard Dreyfuss had patted me on the back for a job well done - and even Jean Belliveau had congratulated me. This was still vividly playing in my mind when I wheeled my bike out for a ride the day after I got home from Montreal, on June 24th Little did I know how much my life would change that day.
On June 26th I’d been laying in a hospital bed for two days, barely able to move at all and too weak to swallow let alone speak after having suffered a major stroke on the bike path.
I watched the CBC tribute to Mordecai on the TV in my hospital room, broken hearted beyond imagination that it was likely my last public performance of any kind.
In with thousands of get well wishes I received all addressed to The Hitman I found one hand made card addressed to The Hooded Fang. It came from “the fourth grade class at St. Joseph’s school & Miss. Savoia & Mrs. Meldrum (2002)”. It’s a piece of folded up purple construction paper that has names carefully sprawled all over it in crayon - Danielle, Stefan, Brittani, Michael, Hailey, Taylor, Shaylene, Michaela, Ryan, Jenna, Jason, Tylor, Amber, Kayla, Madyson, Matthew, Matthew N., Sean, Benjamin, Alison, Sophia and Mambembe - with a message on the back that reads may you be happy, may you be loved, may you be blessed by the stars above. This simple card never left my bedside the whole time I was in the hospital.I’m not sure why it means so much to me.
Maybe because I thought my career was over and yet here were a bunch of kids too young to even know me as a wrestler at all - to them I am The Hooded Fang. I’ve always kept their card within view - along with a giant card that Jerry Forbes put together for me that all sorts of people took the time to come out and sign. On the day that I did the reading in Montreal the director, Michael Levine, said they would keep me in mind to be the voice of The Hooded Fang in an animated series. It was after my stroke that they gave me the part! I surely thought they’d get someone else - but they were even more sure that I would recover than I was! With this kind of faith from well wishers around the world who was I to disappoint everybody?
Now that I’m doing so much better I just wanted to take the time to thank each and every one of those kids at St. Joseph’s school for thinking of me during those dark days. I want you all to know that every time you watch the new cartoon series Jacob Two Two, The Hooded Fang is thinking of you too. Jacob Two Two debuts on YTV, Sept. 7th @ 11:30 a.m.